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tv   NASA Projects Cost Overruns  CSPAN  June 15, 2018 11:40am-1:38pm EDT

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>> it would end the visa lottery program and allowing immigrants to sponsor family members to join them in the u.s. when the house returns tuesday, ive coverage here on c-span. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of ongress. the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c., and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. the >> next up a hearing on cost overruns at nasa. this house science subcommittee chaired by texas congressman, brian babin.
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>> good morning, the subcommittee on space will come to order. without objection, the chair is authorized to >> declare recesses of the subcommittee at any time. welcome to today's hearing entitled nasa, cost and schedule overruns, acquisition and program management challenges. babin: i will now recognize myself for five minutes for an opening statement. nasa is at a critical juncture as it lays out the details of s road map for babin: i will n
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exploration missions. exploration missions. while determining the best business approach to success. however, human exploration doesn't encompass the breadth f nasa's total work. they are also launching interplanetary spacecraft systems, advancing science and aeronautics research, and developing critical technologies to enable u.s. leadership in space. strategy acquisition planning, utilization of new contracting mechanisms, and improving management and oversight will be a crucial part of effective, affordable, and sustainable mission success for nasa. as chairman of the space subcommittee and proud representative of johnson space center in houston, i am a tireless advocate for nasa. however, its members of this committee, we have a responsibility to every taxpayer to ensure that nasa is a good steward, managing
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the resource was which we have been entrusted. today's hearing will touch upon a number of important oversight topics, including acquisition mechanisms, cost estimation methodology, and nasa program management. a good steward procurements represent over 90% of nasa's annual budget. fiscal year 2016, nasa procured over $18.6 billion to nearly 1,000 active procurements. that's a tremendous amount of work. unfortunately, nasa has been plagued for years with contract management issues, which have resulted in substantial cost overruns and schedule slips. generally, it's the high profile major programs which get the most scrutiny because of the funding and time associated with these procurements. however, there are other well documented issues, many of which could constitute and possibly warrant a dedicated hearing. in may of this year, the
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government accountability office released its annual assessment of major nasa projects, those exceeding $250 million in appropriations. this assessment covered 26 major projects. i'd like to note the subcommittee will have a dedicated hearing about the james webb space telescope next month. but this project's long history of cost and schedule overruns is relevant to today's discussion as well. an overall ed deterioration in the major program portfolio, primarily due to the fact that nine out of 17 projects in development are experiencing cost and scheduled performance growth as a result an overall deterioration of risky program management decisions, significant technical challenges and issues beyond the control of the projects. last year, g.a.o. assessed that nasa projects were continuing a
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generally positive trend of limiting costs and scheduled growth, maturing technologies, and stabilizing designs. however, g.a.o. also noted that many of the more expensive projects were approaching the phase of their life cycles -- and cycles when cost schedule growth is most likely. the subcommittee will also investigate specific nasa cost estimating methodology, such as joint cost and and schedule h confidence level. the j.c.l. process. and nasa management techniques related to projects scheduled determination and the use of headquarters reserve funding. we're particularly interested general's inspector recommendations on improvements with general's
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recommendations on improvements with nasa's cost estimating methodologies. especially if there is a need to continue using the j.c.l. process or adopt another cost estimating technique. furthermore, the subcommittee will investigate these and other questions. what acquisition mechanisms, cost plus, fix price, award fee, space act agreements, etc., are most appropriate for various types of procurements. next, how do these acquisition tools incentivize the provider to perform safely and efficiently. what are the pros and cons? and then our existing appropriation funding authority sufficient for congressional oversight of major nasa projects. and lastly, do current agency approaches hold both the agency and provider accountable for overall performance. this is a very timely hearing today. in there report last month, g.a.o. noted that nasa is planning to invest about $61 billion over the lifecycle of its current portfolio of 26 major programs. and that doesn't account for thousands of other procurements
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and a significant portion of nasa's spending authority. whether large or small, all of nasa's business decisions matter. decisions made now have long lasting implications on nasa's mission success and leadership. i want to thank the witness for being here. i'm sorry i was late, didn't get a chance to shake each of your hands, but we're looking forward to your testimony on the challenges that nasa is facing and controlling program costs and schedule. ow i'd like to recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee from california, bera. mr. bera: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for having this timely hearing. welcome to the witnesses. i do look forward to your testimony. when you think about nasa, nasa is bera. mr. bera: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for having this uniqu it's a source of national pride for us, but it also is a cutting-edge agency that serves
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to inspire . those of us who grew up during the space race understand that and motivated many of us to go into the sciences. i want to also acknowledge, it's not that often we walk into the hearing room and see a line of folks waiting to get in here. i think we're joined by nasa's interns. that next generation that hopefully is going to inspire , discover, and move us forward. thank to you the interns that are here. you are the future. in terms of thinking about congress' role here, we clearly have a role, fiscal responsibility and oversight. those at nasa don't have an easy job. you are trying to think about what that future looks like. you are trying to put those projects together. i appreciate that check and balance. as are you doing things we have
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never done before you often encounter the unexpected. that's why i think this is an important hearing. resolving cost and scheduling ssues are hard and there is no simple fix for these types of situations. that said, i have no doubt that nasa's talented work force is looking to find those improvements of how it conducts project management, oversee the contractors, clabbrates with international partners, provides greater funding certainty, and applies cost timation tools and techniques. today's discussion, scheduled increases and the search for corrective action can not take away from the accomplishments and discoveries made by programs like hubbell, the international space station, and mars curiousity. these accomplishments and discoveries would not have happened had the nation not made the hard decisions that enabled these projects to carry through in spite of scheduling delays. we have been well rewarded with
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countless innovations thanks to the dedicate and inspired work the search for by nasa, supporting contractors, and the nation's colleges and universities. one area for improvement is a better agreement on the baseline from which cost growth and scheduled play are determined. the inconsistent measurement of cost growth across programs was noted in the national academy's review of nasa earth science and space missions in 2010. for example, some people characterize the cost growth of using and escope yew initial baseline project cost of $1 billion to $3.5 billion. while this was the initial range cost estimated in 1996, that estimate was not based on a detailed nalcies. a detailed analysis is needed to establish a baseline from which nasa makes a commitment to congress that it can design, develop, and build a project at the cost specified. the initial baseline was established in the fiscal year
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of 2009. according to that baseline, jwst was estimated to have a lifecycle cost of about $5 billion. that is a pretty different number than $1 billion. in closing, mr. chairman, this topic is timely. nasa needs to effectively manage its programs, will gain even more importance as the agency seeks to manage its wide ranging portfolio and increasingly constrained fiscal environment while pursuing ambitious goals such as exploring europa and sending humans far away from either. i look forward to a row bust discussion and with that i yield back. mr. babin: thank you very much. aid like to -- before i recognize our next speaker, i want to also reiterate, thank you for saying this, congressman bera, the hearing room i met some of you outside in the hall when i walked up. i want to tell you, related we have all these nasa interns in here.
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we really appreciate the good work you are doing. just want to pat you-all on the back. you are our future. the -- in the space program. thank you for being here. i'd like to introduce the chairman of the full committee, the gentleman from texas, chairman lamar smith. mr. smith: thank you, mr. chairman this. committee has demonstrated time and again that u.s. leadership in space is a bipartisan priority. our vote on o the 2018 nasa authorization act in april was a clear demonstration of that. congress and the administration support a consistent focused space program and the current nasa budget demonstrates that resolve. nasa, once again, received one of the most favorable authorizations in appropriations of any agentcy. healthy budgets are a good start, but they must be followed up with solid management and oversight to make certain taxpayer funds are spent well. however, excessive cost and missed deadlines may undermine
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the very nasa projects congress and the american people support. we recently held hearings discussing four of nasa's highest profile programs. s.l.s., orion, commercial crew, and the james webb space telescope. the subcommittee will have a hearing next months about the j.w.s.t. program breach and north rum grumman's c.e.o. has agreed to tefment g.a.o.'s report identified significant cost and deadline problems with all four of these high interest programs. they are identified as having deteriorates cogs and schedule performance due to risky decisions involving technology. g.a.o. found that the commercial crew contractors continue to have significant delays in the test flight schedules. and nasa expects the orion program to exceed its cost aseline. g.a.o. assessed other nasa major projects this year as well. for example, the wide field infrared survey telescope remains a serious concern for
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congress. this committee has requested but not received the g.a.o. lifecycle cost estimate that was required by the fiscal year 2018 omnibus. congress has a responsibility to authorize and appropriate funding necessary to accomplish the task it directs nasa to carry out. but congress also has a responsibility to not let cost overruns detract from other nasa priorities such as research and small and medium class missions. it is time for nasa contractors to deliver. the 2018 nasa authorization act takes important steps to impose contractor responsibility watch list. this watch list would penalize poor performing the contractors by restricting them from competing for further nasa work. the watch list. contractor watch li should continue to explore additional options to reduce the cost of these large programs such as leveraging
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stage surpluses, early cost caps, firm fix price contracts, and public-private partnerships that benefit taxpayers. anything short of that will undermine congressional confidence in the contractor's ability to deliver on their promises at a reasonable cost. if space exploration is going to continue to eastern the public's trust, then contractors will have to .eliver on time and on budget if they cannot, then they should face sanctions. mr. chairman, again i look forward to our witnesses' testimony. if today. i yield back the balance of my time. mr. babin: thank you very much. i'd like to introduce the gentlewoman from texas, ranking member of the full committee, ms. johnson. ms. johnson: thank you very much, mr. chairman. and thank you for holding this hearing. thanks to our witnesses for eing here. this morning we hope we're going to get a status update on
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nasa's management and its and ams, particularly cost schedule status on its large issions. to that end, i hope the hearing will provide answers to some of our key questions. is nasa's ability to manage cost and schedule on its programs improving or is it getting worse as the general accounting office seems to indicate? to that end, i hope the hearing will provide answers to some of in its recent report on nasa's major projects. if it is getting worse, what done? done? particularly by this committee. cost and schedule can be expected to be difficult that push the state-of-the-art in science and engineering. challenging missions and that p
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transformational science are what we expect our space programs worthy of this great nation. that said, mr. chairman, we can do better. in particular, we need to improve our ability to identify early on when we can still make design decisions where the project runs the risk of exceeding budget constraints, d if so what options we have at our disposal to make sure the program meets those budget constraints. the wide field infrared survey tell zope is a good example. -- telescope is a good example. after stakeholders, including he national academies, express concerns that the w first could run into potential cost and schedule growth, nasa established expert groups to rigorously review the cost, engineering, and science objectives for the mission. i commend nasa for taking this action. these steps are being taken before the mission design is
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established and while there is still time to reconsider the scope and approach for the mission to preclude the ssibility of exceeding costs -- cost settle expectations. i look forward to discussing learning opportunities such as this one in determining whether future nasa missions would benefit from incorporating similar processes to minimize the possibility of future schedule delay in our cost increases. one thing i learned early on while serving on this committee is that nasa is a unique engine of innovation. a force for pushing new advances in space technology and operation. that is why i'm interested to hear from our witnesses on whether cost and schedule models that are based on the past, traditional approaches to nasa project development, are being updated to reflect the changes in today's
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manufacturing, operations, and echnology environment. is the r&d on cost and schedule models needed? are there other tools that could help nasa improve the management is the r&d of cost and schedule in its acquisition? we do have a lot to discuss this morning and i look forward to hearing from my witness. thank you. i yield back. mr. babin: thank you very much. i'd like to introduce our witnesses. our first witness today is ms. christina chaplain, director of contracting and national security acquisitions at the u.s. government accountability office. among other topics, ms. chaplain has led reviews on the i.s.s., the s.l.s., and orion crew capsule, as well as commercial cargor and crew projects at nasa. ss chaplain received her bachelor's degree in
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international relation from boston university, and master degree in journalism from columbia university. we welcome you. our second witness today is mr. steven jersik, serving as the associate at mror of nasa, agency's highest ranking career civil service position. prior to this he served as associate administrator, where he formulated and executed the agency space technology programs. mr. jurczyk is a graduate of the university of virginia where he received a bachelor of science and master of science in electrical engineering. hank you for being here. our third witness today is the honorable paul martin, inspector general of nasa. prior to this appointment mr. martin as the deputy inspector general at the u.s. department
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of justice. mr. martin has a bachelor of arts in journalism from pennsylvania state university and a jury is doctorate from georgetown university law center. our final witness is mr. daniel dumbacher, executive director of the american institute of aeronautics. has previously served as the associate administrator of the inspiration systems development division of nasa's human exploration and operations mission direct ate. mr. dumbacher earned his bachelor's degree from pursue university and masters degree in the business administration from the university of alabama. he has completed the senior
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managers in government program at harvard university. so i would like to recognize ms. chaplain for five minutes to present her testimony. the chaplain: chairman babin, ranking member, chairman smith and ranking member johnson, thank you for inviting me to discuss the cost and schedule performance of nasa's largest projects. since we began our assessments of major projects 10 years ago, we seen nasa make progress. but our most recent review has worsened after several years of following a general positive trend. specifically as shown in this graph, the average launch delay was the yellow line with dots increased from seven months in our 2017 reports to 12 months in this year's report. this is the firstey we couldn't determine because nasa doesn't have a current estimate for o
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ryon program. omp en without including rion the growth increased to 18.8% up from 15.6% in 2017. we expect this number to increase further when it is factored in and james webb, space launch systems and exploration ground systems are in the riskiest phases of development. in regard to this graph, i would like to point out when we started our assessments, cost and schedule growth is more problematic than depicted. many base lines have been set a couple years prior in response to a statutory requirement. as you can see it has been a struggle for congress to hold them accountable for years. so in 2012, you can see it
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impact had on the cost overall cost growth. this next graph did he pictures some of the reasons why project experienced scheduled growth. they are not different what we ave seen at fasta. other times, the dark circles were due to ricky management decisions. human space flight programs have been operating with very low costs and scheduled reserves which has limited their ability to address challenges. in other cases, projects encountered technical problems could be sometimes avoided and sometimes not. the james webb program delayed
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the propulsion system and because of unanticipated complexities with fulfilling the sun shield. 0's fasta has 00 reduced costs and scheduled growth. as shown in this graph, projects are increasingly building more knowledge about critical technologies early so they do not discover problems when they are more expensive and time consuming to fix. they are building more knowledge about design before proceeding. nasa has improved cost and scheduling processes. while we recognize nasa's progress more can be done. for example, the human space flight projects should not be operating with low cost in scheduled reserves. projects should regularly cost
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and schedule estimates but reluctant to do so. if it es webb, updated was done a few years ago. some projects do not panelingers contractors well and react after problems become overwhelmingly. workmanship areas can have dramatic impact. nasa should enoccur cost growth from a large project does not overwhelm a portfolio. t undertook an a review before the acquisition process began. this assessment should continue. nasa proper jets are complex. they face inherent technical challenges. some cost and schedules are inevitable when you push the state of technology. more can be done to limit
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management risks. this concludes my statement and i'm happy to answer any questions you have. mr. babin: i now recognize mr. jurczyk for five minutes. mr. jurczyk: mr. chairman and members of the committee, i am pleased to discuss nasa's accomplishments and challenges. it is focused on its mission of science and exploration. in support of this mission, they have developed a process for program formulation, approval, implementation and evaluation. nasa challenge is to develop and improve our project management capabilities to ensure efficiency and accountability. must execute and deliver missions on costs and on schedule. we have to execute in an environment that includes significant risk and we are focused on identifying and characterizing risks as quickly as possible. we must take corrective actions promptly whether mitigating,
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accepting, evaluating and onitoring eyed fide risks. products through a few decision gates. at key point decision, the agency delivers a project within a cost and schedule. this agency baseline commitment is against which we evaluate performance. beginning in 2009, nasa adopted a join confidence level to producing estimates and this approach has resulted in improved performance. it employs risk ais ceasements to establish confidence level for an estimate. typical nasa establishes blines or major projects for a 70%. and improved as nasa has
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launched more projects at or near their original cost and blines. nasa is having available authorities to accomplish our mission efficiently. its acquisition process utilizes um am objectives federal acquisition regulation, grants, cooperative agreements, international agreements and pace agreements.
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our continued support for regular g.a.o. reviews and audits and determination to identify rifpks as early as possible and immediately take action to mitigate them. nasa will continue to accept the big challenges that the committee and the nation placed before us. our mission will incorporate cutting edge technologies and pursue the goals that can only be challenged in the hostile
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environment of space. asa has done things never done before. and the telescope will unfold itself a million miles from earth and operate at minus 300 degrees faren height and allow humans to travel deeper into space. they will employ technologies that will be tested on earth but only demonstrated in space. all this is to say nasa must accept the risk but we are committed to managing that risk and executing within our costs and scheduled commitments. thank you for the invitation to testify before you today and i look forward to answering any questions you may have. mr. babin: i recognize mr. martin for five minutes to present his testimony. mr. martin: over 60-year history fasta has been response i will for numerous scientific discoveries and technological know vagues.
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however many of the largest projects costs significantly more to complete and take much longer to launch than originally planned. our office has examined nasa's successes and fail -- failures. and meeting cost schedule and performance objectives as well .s the tools it has developed one is nasa's culture of optimism. two underestimating technical complexity, three, funding instability and four development of new project managers. my remarks this morning address the first two of these challenges, optimism. exemplified by the agency's greatest achievement landing humans on the moon and safely returning them to earth, nasa's ability to overcome obstacles is
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part of the can-do culture. our work has shown that this attitude critz to development of unrealistic plans and performance blines particularly with respect to its largest projects. technological success often at a significantly greater cost tends to reaffirm the mindset that project costs and adherence schedules are secondary concerns. in fact, several people offered a name for this, calling it the hubble psychology or an expectation that projects that fail to meet initial cost and schedule goals will receive additional funding and that subsequent scientific success will overshadow schedule and budget problems. the hubble space telescope was two years late and billion dollars more than original estimates but most people don't remember that. instead, they rightfully
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remember its images of the universe. while a few projects in nasa's recent past have been canceled because of poor cost and schedule performance, a too big o fail when it comes to nasa's ladger and most important migs. given the resources, cost overruns and these projects can result in delays to other missions as funding is reprioritized. technical complexity. it remains a major challenge to achieving cost and schedule goals. with project managers attempting to predict the amount of time and the amount of money needed to develop one of a kind and first of their kind technologies. we found that nasa historically has underestimated the level of effort needed to develop, mature and integrate such technologies.
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to help project managers avoid costs and schedule overruns, nasa has implemented a number of initiatives. j.c.l., required since 2009 for all nasa projects with life cycle costs exceeding $250 million, a j.c.l. analysis calculates the likelihood a project will achieve its objective within budget and on time sm the process uses software models that combine cost, schedule, risk and uncertainty to evaluate how expected threats and unexpected events may affect a project's cost and schedule. our examination of nasa's use of j.c.l. found mixed success with the tool unevenly applied across agency projects. contracting, nasa makes use of procurement vehicles for its project including fixed price
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and price reimbursement contracts as well as funded space act agreements used to spur development of commercial cargo and crew exathes. as nasa looks to the private sector to leverage its resources, it must ensure that the contracting mechanisms it chooses are best suited to maximize the agency's significant investments. in sum, to meet cost and schedule goals, agency leaders must temper nasa's historic culture of optimism by demanding more cost and schedule estimates, well-defined and stable requirements and mature technologies early in project development. in addition, congress and nasa managers must ensure that funding is adequate. finally, the agency must be willing to take remedia action up to and including termination when these critical project elements are not present.
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in our judgment, meeting these projected related challenges can only be accomplished through leadership that arctic can you hates a clear, unified and sustaining vision for nasa and provides the necessary resources to execute that vision. mr. babin: thank you very much, mr. martin. i would like to recognize mr. dumbacher for five minutes to present his testimony. chairman babin and members of the subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to address you today. your support for the nation's space program is to be commended. i sit before you as a former nasa program manager, former educator and current executive director of the nation's aerospace society. the work that nasa does is challenging sm the team should be commended for its
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accomplishments. programs are complex and a great deal of planning and commitment isness to execute a successful mission. every program has its unique challenges sm the nasa industry team works hard to address these issues and make progress towards the respective missions. no matter how much planning takes place or how well thought out the plan, it's by to estimate the cost and schedules of these complex one of a kind projects. all federal department and agencies are operating in a heightened accountability. nasa has updated policies to focus on imflextation with cost estimating, well-defined blines at key decision points and formal requirements. especially during the implementation phases of its projects, nasa has processes to ensure that cost assessment is performed. it is tracked through the review
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process. since nasa instituted its joint confidence level policy nearly a decade ago, its cost and performance has improved. the issues experienced in the nasa proper jets can be assessed in two categories. stable and consistent funding and work force development. simply stated, project management has three basics, content, scheduling and costs, a change directly affects the other two. cost and schedule issues do arise when there are unanticipated changes to a program or when development programs arise particularly during first-time production. disruptions to the budget process and funding stream along with major policy and priority shifts affects schedules and contracts and ultimately lead to additional costs. it is quite difficult for nasa programs implement
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without sufficient resources or reserves. a flat line budget requires project managers to realign the work as they stay under the budget cap resulting in high priority decisions and this is across scheduling and budget. these circumstances add to program costs and move schedules to the right. we learned this lesson with the international space station and we are repeating it. the current budgeting process including the regular use of continuing resolutions, late year appropriations and threats of government shutdowns results in multiple planning scenarios. as stated in october, 2015 testimony, the need to have backup plans for various appropriations outcomes, different budget planning levels along with flexible work force plus prints invites miscommunication.
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the inability of nasa to include a schedule margin in its program due to imposed restraints. planned margins are difficult to improve because it becomes the target in the appropriations process. a separate but related issue that must be addressed is the work force challenge impacting the aerospace community as a whole. there is a shortage of workers for jobs. according to aviation week's 2014 study, they are over the age of 55. more concerning is the lack of development in program experience. the vast majority of the human space flight work force has been hired and trained after space shuttle development. and however launch system development experience is minimal.
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nasa expertise that developed the space shuttle has mostly retired or passed away. for the united states to hold its leadership, significant investments must be made in addressing the work force development via hands on, real world hardware programs and research. key challenges for the future of should be ration addressed. such investments would meet key research and engineering needs while providing valuable experience. well developed is necessary for a program's success. this ensures the appropriate expertise to balance risk and priorities. in conclusion, i thank this opportunity to talk today and look forward to your questions. mr. babin: thank you, we appreciate it. now i would like to recognize for five minutes for questioning.
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and have a bunch of questions and i'm sure everybody else does, too and get right to the point and want to cover this as much as we can. nasa has a storied history of overrunning costs. some of these programs have suffered cancellation as a result and this is simply got to stop. we need performance not excuses from the agency as well as providers. and with that in mind of nasa's options, what acquisition mechanisms such as cost plus, fixed price or space act agreements are most useful in promoting performance and holding the provider as well as the agency management accountable for meeting the acquisition requirements? and i would ask you first, mr. dumbacher. mr. dumbacher: i think the
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appropriate acquisition tool depends on the objectives of the program and the scientific engineering issues and risks associated with that. we typically -- we have a lot of spreps with cost-plus contracts in this country. nasa uses that for its major programs. there is the discussion of public-private partnerships which can be valuable and has been tried in the past, some successful and some not. when we consider all of this, we need to consider the objectives that are for the program, what are the incentives and motives that are necessary for success, both in terms of how it would apply in a public-private partnership and we need to sort through those and make conscious objectives. mr. babin: same question, ms. chaplain. i don't need to repeat it,
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right? ms. chaplain: fixed price contracts, the contractor bears the most risk for meeting cost and scheduled goals. that is your main aim. that's the contract. it's not really appropriate when you are facing a lot of unknowns in the beginning. if you are stretching technology and don't know how long it's going to take or costs, in that case, the government needs to bear the risk of the contract and that's where cost plus comes in. bab ban -- mr. babin: talking about cost plus, do cost plus contracts provide any incentive for the contractor to complete the project on time and on schedule? ms. chaplain: there are incentives built into the contract. so some may be tied to performance and quality, but others could be tied to cost ap
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schedule. mr. babin: mr. dumbacher. mr. dumbacher: to add a little bit to that, when we have done cost plus award fee and incentive fee, we can and do make scheduled performance and cost performance part of the valuation criteria and that is typically included. mr. babin: to mr. martin and ms. chaplain, acquisition encompasses a great deal including procurement processes and the development of clear requirements. for many years, the d.o.d. has had a certification program for defense acquisition professionals. such as training and career progression are necessary or perhaps missing from nasa's acquisition processes? ms. chaplain: nasa has invested in training cost estimateors and project management. they have conferences every year, but i think maybe more can
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be done in that area and certain techniques and more program management issues relating to management contracts. mr. martin: attracting and retaining the project managers is a real challenge tore the agency. 50% of the work force is over 50 years old. and with the diminishing number of small projects for these project managers to get their experience, it's a real concern. mr. babin: do you think nasa can gain from d.o.d.'s experiences? mr. martin: i'm not familiar. ms. chaplain: i think it is a good model for training programs in all kinds of issues. something nasa could look toward. mr. babin: mr. jurczyk, nasa recently took steps to control the costs of w first missions while in form you lation. these steps proven helpful and
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can similar measures be used on other projects to control the costs? mr. jurczyk: on w-first we looked at the project in phase a and they confirm that the project scope had grown and not going to be able to execute the mission within the $3.2 billion budget that we had for them for the management greem. they made recommendations and adjusted the scope and replapped the cost and schedule estimates and presented their baseline. and we have confidence based on their estimate given the replan that they have a solid estimate going into phase b. i think and similarly -- i think that is a way to try to minimize cost and schedule risks early in a program.
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mr. babin: i'm out of time. but thank you very much. from like to recognize alifornia. >> you have touched upon the complexity of scheduling. and i have to imagine when we started on the apollo missions, lots of scheduling delays that as you got further down the road, understood what we had to do, that started to produce and there was more predictability. as we think about future missions and put it in the context of what we talk about like mars by 2023. we don't know the technology and the science and everything else. s we go into deeper space.
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we are encountering more complicated projects as we look at the balance of the commercial sector and sbrurel -- entrepreneurial sector. we did apollo and nasa was the vehicle. maybe a little bit more control as you think about working with outside contractors and new startup companies that may be a little bit more unpredictable. that adds another variable as the international community becomes much more engaged as you see countries like independent yeah, japan, european space agency -- another complicated variable. so as opposed to budgeting and scheduling getting easier, my sense is budgeting and cheduling is going to get more
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accurate? the chaplain: well, i would like to note in the apollo era, a lot of things were never done before and difficult to estimate. we have the benefit of time and history that there are a lot of things we can estimate even if we haven't done that particular mission. and i also know that in the past decade, the three space agencies have been working very closely together to gain that historical perspective in costs. there is more knowledge there that gives you an advantage. learning about what we have done in the past and trying to predict models for scheduling and to chairman babin's question, i'll put it in the
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context of my profession as a doctor. as we are caring for populations of patients we will have a shared risk pool, for a certain fee we are going to take care of this population of patriots. if we do well, there is a reward on that end. if on the other end we do a bad job, we share some of that risk. in contracting, i think you talked about the shared risk reward fees, et cetera. have you noticed in that type that you get better predictability -- not doing something we know how to do, but whether there is some risk involved. if you want to answer. mr. martin: over the last 10 years, nasa has moved to a new procurement mechanism, to spur
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development of transportation capabilities for cargo and crew services to the international space station. nasa contributes billions of dollars to the funded space act agreements but the commercial companies also have a significant financial stake in the game. having them having their skin in the game as well to develop these private capabilities of which nasa will procure them as a service i think is interesting and has been relatively successful. has it increased timing? not particularly. mr. jurczyk: as i said before, we choose either a far-based contract, cost reimbursement or fixed price where it makes sense. partnerships where they are shared strategic interests. therefore we share the risk there in that partnership.
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did do a funded space act agreement for cargo. we kind of moved away from that approach because of our ability having insight and manage. and the partnerships have been through fixed price contracts with cost sharing where we use the rules to manage the relationship and allow the contractor to contribute resources and share the risks. >> i'm out of time. mr. babin: i would like to recognize the chairman of the full committee, mr. smith from texas. mr. smith: ms. chaplain and mr. martin, a lot of nasa contractors seem to not be able to stay on schedule, they fall behind, they end up with cost overruns fail to perform as we expect them to do. in 2018 authorization act, we
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have a watch list for contractors who don't perform well. and let me before i get to my specific question, let me just say i think the american people are frustrated by the federal government when things go wrong, when projects end up not being performed as they should and cost overruns when the deadlines are missed and somehow no one is held accountable. no one is responsible. it just happened. and i think that is frustrating to the american people that costs more than expected. i would like to ask you who you think would be good candidates for that watch list. the watch list is just that. contractors who need to be watched more closely and reminded of their contractual obligations and perhaps sanctioned if they don't improve their performance. but given your investigations, who are some of the contractors
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we might consider being put on a watch list. ms. chaplain: it's a difficult question because in some cases there is a shared responsibility between nasa and the contractors so it is hard to pars out who is responsible for the overrun even if it comes to a workmanship issue. if you look at the provision we are talking about, flr a couple of projects in our list where performance has been bad consistently over time and nasa has canceled or proposed cancelling a project or looking whether to do that because contractor performance -- mr. smith: who are those contractors? ms. chaplain: one is general dynamics. that project is being looked at. performance has been a long
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standing issue on that. the other one was the r.b.i. instrument, which is a weather satellite sensor that was proposed for termination. that was harris corporation. those are the more extreme cases. but it is nasa's decision and they have to investigate the situation. mr. smith: mr. martin, you made a couple of good suggestions i thought to try to avoid the too big to fail syndrome. what are some other ways we can hold contractors accountable. we have a watch list. and what are other things we can keep projects on time and budget? mr. martin: the oversight hearing and proposed hearing from now, the focus on the issues of jwst. oversight is important. and general sense that folks need to be held accountable for
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human failure, we all fail but there is avoidable human mistakes on some of these projects. the improper use of a solvent on . e wjst, inadequate welding so we have individual avoidable mistakes. we have issues with our international partnerships, which are key to the future of nasa. but when the european service modules, 14 months behind schedule, that impacts orion. mr. smith: final question, it is this, it is very unlikely that nasa's budget is going to see a significant increase. it's not the nature of our spending and various constraints are going to prohibit any agency getting a significant increase. nasa had a flat line budget. other agencies have been cut.
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yet there are a lot of people and pundits who expect us to keep the international space station as is, go back to the moon and then on to mars. and seem to be able to think we can do everything all the time. that is not going to make difficult decisions. i don't think it's possible and very naive to think we can do everything all the time. do you gee with that assessment? is there a magic solution to enable us to do everything all the time or take a hard look at some of these big missions like the ones we already have, like the space station and others like the moon and mars? >> it's all about choices. nasa has been very fortunate in the budgets it has received over the years.
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cost and schedule estimation to come up with relate particular cost and schedules and put it before the decision makers. had nasa been able to say that the james webb space telescope was going to cost $8 billion, then it's a decision. you do james webb and i'm not suggesting it should or shouldn't be done, but you make a decision based on ta. if you say yes to james webb, you are saying no to a lot of other things. mr. smith: that's what we have to appreciate, recognize and understand. ms. chaplain can you give us a beef response. ms. chaplain: i think nasa is at risk having too many programs to pay for on time. what we have looked at over the years, we started out with 15, 16 projects. ow we are looking at 26. mr. babin: now recognize the
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gentlelady from texas, mrs. johnson. ms. johnson: ms. chaplain in 2017 assessment of nasa's major projects nasa decided to decentralize its independent assessment function and deploy it to the agency centers, in part better use its work force to meet program needs such as program management and cost estimating. g.a.o. reported on the potential risk that this change could pose for project oversight but stated that it was too early in the transition to assess its efforts -- its effect on agencies such as independence, the robustness of the reviews and information sharing. so now one year later, are you able to tell us that
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decentralization was successful? ms. chaplain: we haven't seen a real visible impact either way yet. we are concerned about that move. i think it's beneficial to the agency to have centralized expertise in those areas and can leverage each other a lot. ms. johnson: do you have any comment? mr. jurczyk: we are putting the responsibility and accountability to the program director to do that independent estimate and they have stepped up to the squob and doing an effective job in implementing our project management processes including reviews. we still have cadr emp of experts in the chief financial officer that have schedule and st expertise that the review boards can draw on. and given stewardship of project
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planning and control to the office of the chief financial officer and that has been bish in not only these people for scheduling costs but improving our skills and processes and capabilities in the cost and scheduling, estimating and management. ms. johnson: what are the most important things that nasa can do to minimize costs and schedule growth and when nasa is faced with schedule delays, what are the tradeoffs that nasa can make? and give me some examples of successes and tradeoffs. >> i think we continue to mature and apply the process. these are going to be important. since 2009, i have seen the value of that. and budgeting projects at the agency baseline coming in at the 70% confidence level and do
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better there in maturing that process. we continue to have success there. we need to continue to focus on development of the project management work force. it has been noted including hiring and developing the talent for hands on project management and project experience and training. about 15 years ago, we identified a shortage of skills in project planning and control and we have taken on an effort to hire and train people in that area, cost estimating and scheduling and management and that has paid off and we need to continue to do that. we talk about independent assessments. and then we have capturing and communicating lessons learned and looking for issues and challenges across programs and putting plans in place to deal we need to continue
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to do that and can lead to improve project performance. ms. johnson: any other witness would like to comment? ms. chaplain: i would add a ouple more things. we see programs. and focusing more on quality management because these issues could come up all the time and there have been efforts but i think more can be done. >> i would like to add, there is the need to recognize that you need appropriate skills for the portion of the program life cycle you are in. so development skills are needed up front in a development program, operational skills at the end and we need to make sure we are working for the right skills at the right time.
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mr. babin: i would like to recognize the gentleman from oklahoma now, mr. lucas. mr. lucas: thinking about the questions my colleagues have had, mr. jurczyk in january of 2018 found the commercial crew contractors boeing and space-x experienced schedule delays for their demonstration missions for human space flight and these delays could jeopardize the ability of nasa. will there be a gap in u.s. access to the international space station? mr. jurczyk: no. we have taken actions and we have other actions we can take to minimize the risk. the first action is to buy three more seats. and that extends the ability via that capability and minimize and
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minimize the risk and commercial crew coming online. there are other things we are looking at adding a third crew member. the other is extending missions from approximately 140 days to 190 days and space the launches out. and there are other actions we can take to hit get. mr. lucas: you are confident that we won't have to use those measures? mr. jurczyk: this summer we are engaging in an assessment of the schedules for both space-x and boeing and we will have a better handle whether to take additional measures at the end of the summer and be glad to report back to you on that. mr. lucas: that answers my questions. yield back. mr. babin: i would like to recognize the gentleman from virginia, mr. buyer.
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mr. beyer: ms. chaplain, you mentioned it would be helpful to have updates and cost time lines. in the family business we update the projections at least once a month. we are getting monthly reports on new home sales and unemployment claims and new jobs created. why are nasa or why are the contractors reluctant to update n a regular basis? ms. chaplain: i think it's a
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healthy thing to do and see conditions change in the james webb program. there were a lot of things that had changed. there was another that took way longer to manufacture. that would have been a good time to recease where the project stood but they didn't do it. mr. beyer: mr. dumbacher, this may be more of a rhetorical editorial comment but you write, the current budgeting process and the continuing resolutions and late year appropriations, threats of government shutdown result in endless multiple planning scenarios. it's difficult when the budget is constantly influx. is it then credible to say that congress plays a role in the problems that nasa has with budget and time line?
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>> yes, sir, i would say that. mr. beyer: thank you for making it clear. mr. jurczyk why not overpromise and underperform? that's what my children do with me. mr. jurczyk: our job in any program area is to deliver the most science or exploration missions we can for the budget given. we have taken an approach of having a portfolio of small medium and large missions and an approach where we budget these missions at the 70% confidence level. that balances the risk of projects in form you lation and implementation against the opportunity costs of budgeting more than at the 70% confidence level and delay in starting new
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missions. t's a matter of optimizing the portfolios and delivering the most science and exploration content that we have. mr. beyer: part of doing that is managing the expectations. mr. jurczyk: we could do a better job of managing expectations. mr. martin: if you underpromise, you are in greater danger of not etting your project started. what nasa's problem is they overpromise, overpromise the maturity of the technology. i was struck on page three of our written statement, there is a quote from former administrator. i think he was current administrator at that time talking about projects, proponents of individual missions downplaying the difficulty and risk in order to
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gain new start funds. that has been a historic problem. mr. beyer: you raise two interesting pieces, one there is a culture of optimism that was too optimistic and number two we needed far more accountability. at the same time, the level of accountability is also have a shortage of the talent we need. more than half are over 50 years old. how do you ratchet up accountability and not depress the enthusiasm, the sense of worth and also how do you dampen down the optimism in an agency that has to be so optimistic. >> you are dancing on a knife. you have to have that optimism, that free thinking to think of things that have never been built before and conceptalize them. balance.ifferent
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it is rocket science after all. it is very difficult and nasa s bought in a lot of its j.c.l. eye and other processes, they need to force adherence to those requirements. mr. beyer: i yield back. mr. babin: yes, sir. thank you. i would like to recognize the gentleman from alabama, mr. brooks. mr. brooks: i am concerned about the perceived transition process away from the format of the international space station. there has not been enough substantive public debate on what this transition involves. with that as a back drop i have a question directed at ms. chaplain, the nasa associate administrator. first has nasa come up with a
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definition of what commercialization of the international space station means? ms. chaplain: we have not been doing work in that area and i don't believe they have yet, but i'll let steve -- >> let me tell you where the more detailed planning is. for t a solicitation industry studies on transing to some sort of collaborative or commercial enterprise and geting the proposals back in this week. and what we asked for in those studies are the capabilities that they think can provide us and what we need in the future. technical approach to achieving tholes capabilities and third is the business plan. what is the business plan, although we don't have a
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rigorous definition, nasa hub 20% or 30% of government entities and commercial entities should also use that exathes and not be the 80% or 90%. to me personally, i would not define it as commercial. so we are going to get the studies back in december and that will inform a more detailed transition plan and come to you all and present that plan and get your feedback and input on it. mr. brooks: when do you anticipate having that more detailed plan that you can present to us so we can understand that commercialization? mr. jurczyk: some number of months. so probably first half of next calendar year we will come back to you and lay that out ininformed by the studies and what looks feasible in the mid-20's time frame. brooks books you would be able to answer the question in the
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first six months of 2019? mr. jurczyk: yeah, i can give you a more exact date if you like. suppliess: mr. martin, ur report notes that, quote, space-x will increase crf-2 mately 50% under while a.t.k.'s per kill gram pricing will decrease by 15%. the major difference between those contracts is space-x introduction of reuse built. space-x has noted that customers should not expect substantial discounts on reused hardware. my question is this, are you concerned whether taxpayers will save money with reusable rockets? and second followup question,
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second reuse may end up costing nasa and the united states taxpayer more overall? >> steve could answer this. but i believe there is a slight reduction in the area of 3% to % for reuse of a space-x rocket. there is a slight reduction. am i concerned? it's a safety issue. so the launch services people need to assess the specific rocket and they have access to the rockets before they authorize it for launch. mr. brooks: well, mr. jurczyk, since mr. martin pointed the finger at you with your insight, give us insight. mr. jurczyk: i think mr. martin is right with respect to the introduction of use built of the first stage of the falcon 9 and working towards reusing the farring and they are looking at
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reusing the upper stage also. as they gain experience and as anybody gains experience with the system, there is opportunity further reduce the risk and redues the cost. my -- reduce the cost. and how much it takes to refly it. there is opportunity there. i'm not able to predict what additional savings they might achieve. mr. brooks: any chance you could expound on increased risk factor of using a novel approach? mr. jurczyk: the launch services program is in the process of assessing that risk for all issions. mr. brooks: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. babin: now recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. lamb. mr. lamborn: thank you, mr.
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chairman -- mr. lamb: i appreciate highlighting the difficult projection you are in. i'm trying to learn a little bit more about how that affects you on the ground day-to-day. this is a question for anyone. can you share some more specific examples of how that might have affected a particular project? >> i will be happy to take that because we lived it for a while. and what happens, commap, is when you are working on a program and trying to put the plan together for the future and at's my work plan and as i'm working through the budgeting process. every time i have to plan to a different number, that means i've got to go back through that planning iteration process. so at a time when the
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president's budget request was significantly different from what was typically coming from the popingses process, it was necessary to a, to do the plan that was supportive and was inclusive in the president's budget request and i had to be ready as a program manager that if additional appropriations did come in i had the ability to plan and react to that. . we had to deal with a government
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shutdown, continual negotiations on both ends of pennsylvania avenue and then in addition to that, while i'm doing all that plan , my -- the team' focus is pulled away from the day-to-day management of these technically complex jobs. we were working through all that and actually had to deal with the government shutdown and work through that and all the ultiple planning cycles. mr. brooks: thank you. ms. chaplain, it seems like you have something to add? ms. chaplain: it seems like i've heard other things from agencies i oversee, missile defense, the chaos and planning. another example of the impact of cryo test can have is at the end of a program like james webb it might take a couple of weeks to get the facility ready for this test and two weeks to cool town and the shutdown, i think there was a
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shutdown while they were doing that test and they were worried if we have to shut down, we're going to lose a whole month of ime. mr. brooks: thank you very much. again a question for i think anyone, it's pressing, but some of you highlighted the work force development issues you ave within nasa. mr. lamb: and i think it was mr. dumbacher talking about young eople leaving job. if there's one thing you could suggest to attract and retain new talent, what would it be? >> as i stated in my testimony is good, real hardware programs that -- to go address the technical needs we need for space exploration and the nasa
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mission. give these students, give these young professionals real, hands hardware experience because that informs their experience and their career. >> i second that. the first project i worked on out of college was an instrument project in-house at nasa. i was able to design, integrate and test flight hardware. mr. jurczyk: that experience was critical throughout my entire career as i moved through the. without that experience i don't know how i would have been able to be as effective as i was as i move through the my career in asa. >> if i can give you a story, there were a group of people, i was one, robert light gs foot
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was one, we were asked to test shuttle engines? -house -- in-house. mr. dumbacher: we tested the ultimate flight configuration for shuttle. our leaders forced us into that experience because they knew it fit into the long-term career. >> echoing that, agencies are spend timing overseeing contractors efforts and that's frustrating. mr. lamb: thank you, mr. chairman. >> i'd like to recognize the gentleman from louisiana, mr. higgins. mr. higgins: it's uplifting to see these young american here's today, these nasa interns, i hope you young men and women are paying attention to the budget discussions. we are a nation that's $20 trillion in debt. and should this body ever manage
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to produce a surplus, say $1 billion, it would require 20,000 years of $1 billion surplus to address a $20 trillion debt. is i'm prayerful that nasa has a spirit of doing more with less. because not only are individual projects at risk but certainly anyone can recognize that a $20 trillion debt puts the entire stability of all programs at risk and every government agency. i'm very hopeful that you young americans are paying close attention to this conversation. mr. martin, i'm concerned about the culture of optimism that you referred to and the too big to fail attitude amongst project managers but i understand their
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perception that their projects are too big to fail because in every case a tremendous amount of american treasure has been invested in that project. and therefore it's quite logical for these project managers to have this cavalier attitude of too big to fail. what can this committee do, what can congress do, ensure projects are developed and managed within their budget constraints, including, i'd like your thoughts, sir, regarding accountability for our contractors within these projects. >> again, i think more frequent conversations with members of congress about the status of individual projects is important. more fidelity to the cost estimates that nasa does right now. and then the occasional example that projects large or small are going to be terminated if they
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go too far over cost and schedule. in preparation for this hearing i think the last project i remember being canceled was something called gems a telescope that was suppose tods -- supposed to look for evidence of black holes and it was a smaller program from nasa speak, it was capped at $105 million. mr. martin: and then partway through formulation they realized an independent cost assessment it was going to be 20% or 30% over that $105 million cap and nasa canceled it. and it got people's attention. mr. higgins: generally speaking, the contractors that are involved in cost overruns for nasa projects, large projects, these are for-profit companies, are they not? mr. martin: they are, sir. mr. higgins: has that ever been addressed within the leadership at nasa that, you know, most american, we receive a bid from
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a professional contractor to perform a particular service, then we expect that service performed for the price that was bid and they're held accountable, legally, by civil law and there's a certain expectation of performance when you've fwiven a bid. and yet within the federal government, certainly within nasa's large projects, there seems to be an attitude of, well, we're not really accountable for the actual bid we presented and we won't be forced to perform. mr. martin: he's in a -- he's nasa leadership. mr. dumbacher: a lot of -- mr. jurczyk: a lot of times we're building things no one has ever built before. we use incentives to hold
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contractors accountable and those are tied to fee, and that is their profit. so if they do not perform and they should get a low score against performance evaluation plan and either receive much less profit or no profit, depending on how we weigh the incentives in the plan and how they're scored. given the high risk nature of what we do, very complex systems, very high risk with now tech -- new technology, we take that approach and hold them accountable and the ultimate price to pay for them if they don't perform is loss of -- complete loss of profit. mr. higgins: mr. chairman, my time has expired. if there's a second round i have a question for ms. chaplain. >> yes, sir, thank you very much. mr. foster. mr. foster: i'd like to start by
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making an observation about the amount of funding you can think about having in the next decades. last week the federal reserve made the historic announcement that household net worth in the united states, the wealth of americans, just went over $100 trillion. this is up $45 trillion since president obama signed the stimulus reverse the economic chance and triggers the economic growth that's going on today. so when people tell you there is not enough money to do this or that, the scale for that is one fraction of $100 trillion -- what fraction of $100 trillion might bewe think about using to travel to mars or whatever your dream is. i would also want to say that i resonated as a former project manager and someone doing technical components for large federal projects. i very much resonated with your desire to retain in-house expertise. it is very, very difficult to manage a frodget you never done it yourself.
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and so when i decided that i had to manage a group doing a large number of integrated circuits, i learned all the integrated circuit design criminal tools and made tentative circuits myself before i desaied i could sit at the top and emit specifications for other engineers. this is crucial and we have to look very carefully when we -- this rush to privatization. runs the risk of losing the in-house expertise that will ultimately cost more money because you don't have -- you'll have projects that are not managed as well as they could be. we ought to be cognizant of that as we contemplate this transition. when i think about cost overruns, there's sort of two big, general classes. the first ones are intudesyast cost estimates. the initial scope of the project the initial scoping is always done by people who are advocates for the project and then you have to get adults in the room with experience to actually pull
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back and say how does this compare to actual cost? the other one is legitimate technical risk. and i would just like to say that, i hope my colleagues in congress would be much more tolerant of technical risk. it is ok to take significant technical risk and if you asemiable group of experts who say success is not assured but this looks like a good bet and it turns out you lose the bet then congress should be very understanding and tolerant. but much less tolerant when projects are approved when everyone in the room knows the -- i don't want to point fingers but i'm sure in your minds you know several projects that have been approve wrd a large number of the people knew that they weren't really going to get the project done for that cost. it's not just nasa. that happens in -- every in the government. and so i just was wondering, are there ways that you can identify retrospectively the times when
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you've had enthusiast cost estimates, are there sose yo logical red flags that allow you to say, i'm suspicious this is ot a real cost estimate? ms. chaplain: i always -- i can tell when i'm suspicious, it's usually when there are very grand statements made about the program and the achievements t's going to get seem overly exaggerated and that's when you start wondering, are these estimates sfleal but i would say in the piece of nasa, i trust the process that they have because they dedo review the estimates pretty carefully. they have stand regular view boards that look at them before they make their decisions. they could have more independent estimating to kind of compare that's one thing, but i do believe that their processes now as opposed to a few years roog pretty rigorous at ensuring
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those estimates are complete. i would just add one thing you said about taking risks, you know, you need to still do that. i think there is a concern within nasa and other places in the government that we're not taking enough technical risk, that we're tie too afraid to do that. >> with respect to science missions, nasa relies on the finds of the national research council and surveys that identify specific projects. think that's another check. mr. foster: they don't do cost estimates, they're given estimates? mr. martin: they do cost estimates, i don't know if they're good cost estimates. mr. foster: that's where you need the expertise and judgment. >> when i look back on my career and where i've seen this most and one thing stands out, have
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the ones doing the cost estimates be the ones who are responsible for the program's execution. i have seen instances where the people making the initial estimate knew they were going to be moving on to something else and they brought the new person in and the new person was, what's this? i think if trst an air of accountability, they know they're ultimately accountable for that cost, for executing to their cost estimate that starts to get the behavior where i think you want it sose yo logically. mr. foster: there's a whole set of questions when you go to an external contractor model who does the cost estimate an who takes responsibility in that model. guess i'm out of time here. >> the chair recognize this is congressman dunn of florida. mr. dunn: mr. chairman, jump the in here, mr. jurczyk,
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space agency ended its participation because of cost estimates. what will the result of c.s.a.'s decision to pull out? mr. jurczyk: that decision was factored into the project's replanning after the independent review of w first and was factored into the plan they brought forward to move from phase a to phase b. so they've been able to adjust scope and adjust their cost and schedule estimates to stay within the $3.2 billion and still without the canadian contributions. mr. dunn: how does it affect the technology development? mr. jurczyk: i don't think it significantly affects the technology development. i think the project has a good plan to, um, early on develop pro toe type hardware to reduce the risk of that element as well as other elements of high risk.
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mr. dunn: how about the mission itself, does the capability, the mission goals change? mr. jurczyk: the level one science goals do not change and they will meet the requirements of the mission as defined in the n.r.c. survey. mr. dunn: that's great news. the 18 omnibus bill required a cost estimate by may 22, that's behind us. when will that be submitted to congress? mr. dunn: within the next couple of weeks. it's been done, they're wrapping up the documentation, it'll be here hopefully within the next two or so weeks, that's our plan. mr. dunn: so many, many people here called the assessment, many sessments the next stable, predictable, stable funding to plan. let's close our eyes and imagine that congress might provide multiyear funding authority. it's a pleasant fiction, i know. but imagine that. in that scenario how would this authority change your planning
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for your policemans? -- for your programs? mr. jurczyk: i think it would allow us to only plan once and execute that plan and deal with the challenges mr. dumbacher articulated before. the one example we had of multiyear funding, ob-105, the replacement orbiter after the challenger accident where congress appropriated multiyear funding for the project. they were successful in executing on schedule and on budget with a profile that ramped up and ramped down like any prarble project plan should an having the money, the adequate money when they needed it. that's just an example. mr. dunn: that might be good far lot of agencies in the government? mr. jurczyk: for any large, complex program that's going to take multiple years to execute, i would think. so mr. dunn: i'm thinking ms. chaplain would love that so in our limited time, for --
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actually, mr. jurczyk, you may be unable to answer this the james webb cost overruns and missed deadlines what programmatic changes would you make to prevent that in light of that failure? can you answer that? mr. jurczyk: i can tell you what we have done to date. the first is a series of actions that we worked on with northrup grum monday. we completely restructured the i.n.t. organization at northrup to flatten it and hold people accountable for getting through the integration and test program. that also has allowed them to identify and resolve issues in a more timely manner, to minimize the impact of those issues. we've also added staffing to the i.n.t. team out at northrup say 've really i would strengthened the mission assurance function and personnel out there to deal with some of
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the workmanship and quality issues that were mentioned by ms. chaplain and others to try to avoid the human errors that have caused schedule delays. like was mentioned, a small error or problem has a very large affect on a program. mr. dunn: in the 30 seconds remain, mr. martin, do you have anything to add to the comments on that? mr. martin: we have not done significant oversight of jwst. mr. dunn: how about you, ms. chaplain? ms. chaplain: i believe the actions taken were reasonable. i would note they already had some on site presence, but we'll be looking to see how effective those actions are as we do our next review. mr. dunn: here's wishing you multiyear funding authority. with that, mr. chairman, i yield ack. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes
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representative lofgren of california. ms. lofgren: thank you, mr. chairman. i think this is an important hearing and most of the questions have been asked. i would like to think about what urther congress could do noigs avoiding the kind of situations mr. lamb addressed the shutdowns issue, the inconsistency between the president's requested budget and what's appropriated that lends uncertainty to the planning process. what could congress do to limit the uncertainty in funding other than those two issues? he idea of a multiyear funding program or large projects is valuable but can you give us further guidance to stem losses through our own actions? ms. chaplain: i'll start.
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i would say avoid overspecifying what your expectations are. avoid setting dates for program. avoid choosing how they're going to do it. because that limits their choices even more in what they an do. >> i would echo that. we seem to be get manager and more direction from the appropriations process, particularly through the reports. and we're expected -- the expectation is we'll follow that direction and that constrains the solution space and our ability to manage effectively sometimes. mr. jurczyk: i'd say just to echo what ms. chaplain said that's one additional thing i an think of. mr. dumbacher: with respect to the funding issue, it's when the dollar amount is phasing. mr. martin: i would add work to make sure the environment in
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which we have these discussions is less punitive and more objective and more willing to hear the risks and understand the issues. mr. dumbacher: i think we have to be careful that a lot of the -- we can be -- we can inadvertently set up a cycle of oversight leads to conservatism leads to more oversight and it goes around in a circle. what congress can do and this subcommittee can do because of its oversight committee responsibilities is establish a environment that allows more open discussion. ms. lofgren: i think the point is, failure is a learning experience. we need to foster that sense of discovery and willingness to take risks if we're going to be successful. let me just close with sort of a parochial question.
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i represent part of santa clara county, nasa ames is located in santa clara county. thinking about the demographic issues we face in nasa with so much of the work force being over 50 years of age. nasa ames facility is located in a key part of the country , in silicon valley thrarks lot of synergy between what's going on in the tech community and nasa ames and though it's very expensive to live in santa clara county, actually they just built some housing for nasa employees so that it's possible to maintain their -- that synergy. i'm wondering in terms of, you know that facility as well as others that are co-located with technology centers, what further we can do to move too much scientists away from really
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better paying jobs into the agency to make young people who are smart and who are good scientists want to work in nasa. if anybody has an answer to that. >> i'll take a try at it. i think what the young people want now are -- is similar to what young people wanted when i got out of school. mr. dumbacher: they want excited work, they want to know they have an opportunity to make a difference and they want to help solve today and future problems. and i think providing those and then in addition to the infrastructure kind of options that you have described, would be extremely beneficial. i think they want to see, from my experience, teaching at purdue for a few years, you hit those first three bullets then the students will come. that's why they go to space x and blue origin. they see exciting work. that's why they still want to
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come to nasa, because nasa has the cachet it's always had. 10 exciting work, help make a difference, and do something quick and i think you'll be a long way down the road. ms. lofgren: thank you very must have, i see my time has expired nd i yield back. >> the chair recognizes mr. rohrabacher of california. mr. rohrabacher: i apologize for being late to the hearing. two important hearings have to happen at exactly the same time which perhaps leads me to the first point which is, we need to make sure we hold nasa accountable, but i have to assume that the congress isn't doing its job all that well either. when we're talking about continuing resolutions and omnibus bills, i mean, that's a reflection on the fact that we aren't doing our job here as
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well. so please don't think if there's any criticism here coming from this end that we don't realize, or at least some of us don't realize there is justified criticism of the way congress is doing its job. let me ask a couple of questions here about these cost overruns and -- that seem to be around, they've been around as long as i've been around. and let me ask you this. are we -- is a lot of this intention aloe bidding on the part of companies in order to achieve a contract? is this part of that? and to whoever can answer that question. >> we have a pretty rigorous request for proposal an proposal evaluation process including independent cost and schedule estimates by the government to ensure that what's being
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proposed is actually executeable. mr. jurczyk: that it's being proposed as executeable. mr. rohrabacher: you don't see it as a scheme by some big corporation to intentionally bid low, ghet contract and then realize swreel to pay for it later on? mr. jurczyk: i do not. mr. rohrabacher: anybody believe that? good, thank you. that help ours understanding of this. a lot of these companies that do have the cost overruns are companies that are worth bombs and billions of dollars themselves. f -- what penalty does a company have that goes through a major cost overrun and doesn't meet its commitments to a contract? what's the punishment? ms. chaplain: so as we discussed earlier, you can take actions to punish companies just through award and incentive fee bus often they're tied to multiple
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objectives so you're limited in terms of what you can do. the ultimate thing is just to cancel a program if you really feel like -- mr. rohrabacher: but what about the next program? can a company that did not meet its contract be denied a contract down the road because they have not met their obligation? ms. chaplain: i think that's possible and the proposal that's in your bill about a contractor watch list they could go on that list if they're not performing well and nasa will in the deal with them in the future far period of time. that is one option. mr. rohrabacher: maybe you could expand on that? >> we have a robust acquisition integrity program run by our office of procurement and office of general counsel. they along with the programs look at contract performance and will use the far process for suspension and debarment for lack of performance or for waste
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and abuse. mr. jurczyk: we use the existing process. the other thing we do is we have the contract performance reassessment reporting system. when we evaluate a contract on a regular basis that assessment go into that system as well as the assessments of the agency and federal government. not only nasa but other departments can draw on that to use in assessing past performance and determine whether to award them anything in the future. mr. rohrabacher: it seems to me we have to be more diligent in that area. once we have accountability and responsibility for these things, we can expect to have more problems. i have to assume that we did not have the amount of discipline plinary system and the accountability that will deter companies, perhaps maybe companies that make bids should be held responsible for that bid, meaning that the money that's lost perhaps should be
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absorbed by the company as i say, these are multibillion dollar companies. and if they're going to be taking the taxpayer money and failing in what they're claiming to do, why should the taxpayer pick it up? we have -- we just -- we have $2 trillion debt, the gentleman mentioned how that is if there's anything that's going to keep us from going into space, it's going to be the total disintegration of our economic system so that we can't afford any of this stuff. i would also, let me just note we're going to have to, we have a $20 billion budget for nasa, $20 billion, we should be able to do a lot with $20 billion. let me just note that when i first got involved, i realized the budget wasn't enough to accomplish the missions and
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that's why i dramatically, i tried to focus totally on international cooperation and private sector investment. so let's hope that we tissue that that's one avenue knew of make manager revenue come in but we also have to make sure we pay attention to what this hearing is all about, making sure that we're managing the actual projects themselves in a way to minimize the loss of very scarce dollars. so thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> the chair thanks the gentleman for his participation. we're nearing the noon hour an we're going to be finished by noon. but there's a member who would like to ask a second set of questions, as long as we're able to in that time frame this the chair is comfortable with that. mr. higgins do you wish to do followup? the chair recognizes
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representative higgins for that followup. mr. higgins: thank you for allowing me to ask a question. ms. chaplain, nasa received multiple recommendations on ways to better develop cost and schedule stims as well as perform joint cost and schedule confidence level analysis during the beginning stages of the implementation phase of large projects. in december of 2012 it was recommended that the jswt project update its sgrmplet c.l. nasa concurred with this recommendation and yet no steps were taken to implement. further analysis indicates that if implemented, an updated j.c.l. may have prevented schedule delays. among the many known and unknown challenges that nasa encounters regarding schedule cost and continuity, can you elaborate on why this recommendation was purposefully overlooked? ms. chaplain: at the time they
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did concur as you said. so i didn't ever have an official reason why it was overlooked. i think they were reluctant to relook at their costs. a couple of years later we recommended they at least do something similar to do a cost schedule risk analysis and really take a deep look at the risk and we're going to do that ourselves, working with a contractor but that was rejected by the contractor. and then -- rejected by the contractor. and it wasn't until they were getting ready to work with the launch agency on setting the date that they actually did a schedule risk analysis themselves and realized how far behind they really were. mr. higgins: ms. chaplain, thank you for your candid answer. mr. chairman, thank you for allowing me to ask this second question. >> certainly. any other member wish to ask any other followup questions? seeing none, i thank the
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witnesses for their valuable testimony and the members for their questions. the record will remain open for two weeks for additional comments and written questions from members this hearing is adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> news this afternoon that president trump's campaign chairman paul manafort is being sent to jail. a federal judge ordered him into custody citing newly filed obstruction of justice charges. he's awaiting trial on federal conspiracy and money laundering charges next month he faces spending the rest of his life in prison. coming up tonight on c-span, more campaign 2018 coverage. primary debate in new york's 11th congressional district. and ates dan dunavan former congressman myal call grimm face off.
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that's tonight at 8:00 eastern. next up a hearing on u.s. preparedness for potential biological attacks, pandemics and infectious disease outbreaks. lawmakers heard from dr. anthony fauci of the institute for analysis of infectious diseases. they also talked about security risks and vaccine development and the management of medical supplies that could be used in a public health emergency. mr.harper: today the subcommitt


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